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“Vanilla Bear” Image Courtesy of Sootheze

It’s no secret that stuffed animals can provide comfort and bring happiness to people living with Alzheimer’s. Well how about combining the soothing reassurance of a soft, plush bear or dog with the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy?

The folks at Sootheze are doing just that with their line of Sootheze Pals. Plenty of research has shown the benefits of lavender and other herbal scents as far as helping reduce agitation in Alzheimer’s patients. The Sootheze plush animals are filled with a blend of nine herbs including lavender, rose hips, and cinnamon. Their “stuffing” consists primarily of all-natural flaxseed.

“Scruffy” Image Courtesy of Sootheze

Sootheze pals are available in a variety of animals including cats, dogs, bears, and bunnies. The company also offers a “collar” style that can be draped around the neck and shoulders. Adding to their versatility, the plush pets can be cooled in the freezer or heated in the microwave if desired. What a cozy addition to a cold winter day or night.

I realize some challenge this idea, supporting the notion that dolls and stuffed animals are demeaning to adults. However, I truly believe it depends on the individual and how far along they are in the disease. This goes hand in hand with the concept of joining our loved ones in their world when they can no longer make it back to ours. We have to stop and think, does the idea of a stuffed animal feel demeaning to our loved one, or are we just uncomfortable with it?

In terms of benefits, there are many others:

  • Providing a distraction or tool for redirection
  • Giving busy hands something soft to “pet”
  • Providing something to love, nurture, and take care of
  • Triggering happy memories of a beloved pet from long ago
  • Providing a focal point for interactions with caregivers and loved ones
  • Bringing an overall comfort and feeling of safety and wellbeing

Stock Image: Morguefile

For the last couple of weeks, one of the dear ladies I visit in memory care has told me she’s very afraid – a common occurrence in Alzheimer’s patients. I sit and hold her hand, which seems to help, but we know we can’t always be there.

This coming week, I’ll be taking the sweet Vanilla Bear I received from the nice folks at Sootheze, to his new home in the unit. My hope is that he will bring smiles, joy, and a sense of security to my friends when they’re sad, lonely, or just need a hug.

Visit the Sootheze website to learn more or shop for a Sootheze pal for your loved one.